A focus group discussion- post training monitoring was held for Kawit Port personnel on January 8, 2021 at the Coast Guard Sub-station, Kawit, Medellin, Cebu/
There were three members of the Philippine Coast Guard who participated in the focus group discussion.
As a background, port personnel of Kawit Port, including members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bantay Dagat were trained on risk communication (RCCE) and infection prevention and control (IPC) last November 20, 2021. Since then, they were expected to apply the knowledge that they got during the training. Although the Kawit Port is not yet open to passengers aside from those residing in Gibitngil Island, the Philippine Coast Guard members and the Bantay Dagat were expected to ensure that the passengers practice the basic health protocols. They play a very essential role in ensuring a very minimal and if possible, no risk at all, of transmission of the virus among passengers. Thus, there was a need to know how the trained port people had been performing this essential task since the training they had last November 20. Since they may be involved in certain circumstances when they had to explain to people matters related with the virus and its effect on people’s lives, there was also a need to evaluate how they have applied their knowledge on risk communication and community engagement.
The focus group discussion evaluated how the port personnel had been ensuring the practice of infection prevention and control in the port and in relating with passengers traveling to and from Gibitngil Island and Kawit, and evaluated how the port personnel had been practicing risk communication and community engagement.
During the discussion, it was learned that the Kawit Port did not yet accept commercial passengers. Only residents of the nearby barangay island of Gibitngil were allowed to ride in small motorized boats. There were no port personnel assigned in the ports yet. It was also under renovation. Members of the Bantay Dagat were also active in ensuring that health protocols are followed when they patrol against illegal fishing.
The three members of the Philippine Coast Guard said that they were very strict in implementing the health protocols of departing and arriving passengers in the port. They said that they ensured that there was always social distancing, that people wore face masks and face shields at all times.
There was also a limit of the number of passengers who can board the vessels to ensure that there was social distancing inside the vessels. Regarding communication to different types of audiences and different circumstances about COVID-19, the participants said that they indeed had encountered many persons who asked them for advise due to fears of getting COVID-19, refusal to go on home quarantine because they are asymptomatic but COVID-19 positive, anxiety due to loss of their livelihood, and those who are elderly and are scared of dying due to the virus. They said that the risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) lecture was useful to them in talking with these people presenting with such problems.
The port personnel concluded that in order to contribute to the efforts of the Municipality of Medellin to maintain the zero cases of COVID, they as government employees would keep on reminding people to practice the health protocols, particularly properly wearing face masks and social distancing.